Per- and Polyfluoralkyl Substances: Contamination Risks
Across the country, especially in Michigan where communities are still recovering from public water supplies contaminated with lead, news is breaking on per- and polyfluoralkyl substances (PFAS). The far reaching extent of PFAS is certainly something to be concerned about, but knowing more about PFAs and ways to reduce harm can help alleviate fear and offer solutions for dealing with this risk.
What, exactly, are PFAS?
PFAS are a group of human-made chemicals used to produce heat, oil, water and stain resistant products. PFAS can be found in:
- Food packaged in PFAS-containing materials, processed with equipment that used PFAS, or grown in PFAS-contaminated soil or water.
- Commercial household products, including stain-and water-repellent fabrics, nonstick products (e.g., Teflon), polishes, waxes, paints, cleaning products, and fire-fighting foams (a major source of groundwater contamination at airports and military bases where firefighting training occurs).
- Workplace, including production facilities or industries (e.g., chrome plating, electronics manufacturing or oil recovery) that use PFAS.
- Drinking water, typically localized and associated with a specific facility (e.g., manufacturer, landfill, wastewater treatment plant, firefighter training facility).
What can clients do to help limit liability/exposure?